Middle Yough, PA

The Youghiogheny river is the local whitewater playground. Different sections of it are suitable for anybody, ranging from novice to expert. For Sunday's beginner trip, we chose the Middle Yough, a class II river. The purpose of this trip was to introduce complete novices to whitewater kayaking, and to start working on the skills necessary to become a competent river runner. Thanks to the experienced kayakers who helped out - Ivan, Cornell & Nik (who handled most of the teaching - thank you!).

Most of us met at 8 am in the storeroom, and after a chaotic 30 minutes, everybody had boats and gear. Eli and Francesca had left the night before - by luck, we ran into them in Ohiopyle right before we were about to leave to put on to the river. At the put-in, everybody practiced eddy turns and peel-outs, and we had our first swimmer. Everybody learned these new skills remarkably quickly, and we headed on downriver. Class II water is fairly straightforward, but definitely has big enough waves to flip an inattentive paddler. We stopped at a few more rapids to work on paddling technique and/or to fish swimmers out of the river. Despite the temperatures in the 40's, the wetsuits did their jobs, and there was no visible shivering or blue lips - I at least was quite warm =)

As we got off the river, I ran into a friend who was heading off to paddle the Lower Big Sandy, my favorite run, so I hopped in his truck to join that trip. Many thanks to whoever fetched my car from the put-in!

-L. Lindzey